Author Archives: John Mix

My First Three Swims with the Swimsense Performance Monitor

I recently set up a goal for myself to swim 10 times in December.  Recently I have been doing more exercise in the gym, riding a spin bike and doing weights, while I also play water polo about 2 nights a week. So I thought 10 swim workouts would be a good goal. With my new Swimsense™ I have already been in the water 3 times over the past 6 days!

My first swim with my Swimsense was prior to a polo practice. I was not paying too much attention to this “warm up” swim other than I wanted to get in a few yards and a few stroke types before polo practice started. When I stopped I was surprised to see that I swam 950 yards already (700 free, 50 back and 200 breast). A pretty good amount of “warm up” before my 90-minute polo practice.

I was a little more sensitive during my second session with my Swimsense, excited to see the details of a pure swimming workout.  I had a nice 2500 yard morning swim, and all the while I was thinking of how interesting it will be to see my data: split times, stroke count, swimming time vs rest time, efficiency score, etc. So after my swim, when I uploaded my workout and looked at the details on, I was amazed and engrossed with the data. This is MY workout! What did I do poorly? What was good? How awesome is this see!!

During my third Swimsense™ session I had a rather full day ahead of me, so I opted for a shorter swim before heading to the office.  I chose not to think about my workout, but rather use my SwiMP3 to keep my mind off my work and enjoy the music. I did a 4 song warm up, followed by a song for breaststroke and another song for backstroke. I swam out a final song to freestyle and thought I would be done.  At that point, I looked at my Swimsense and saw my total workout distance read 1450 yards. I thought to myself “Well that isn’t a very good number. I can’t get out of the pool yet!” I decided to swim another song at a relaxed pace, and I felt a lot better knowing I had swam a total of 1800 yards. The Swimsense motivated me to swim just a little farther that day.

When I uploaded this 3rd workout on my Swimsense Bridge software, I checked the box “Post to Facebook”.  I had not yet selected this option before, and within 30 minutes of uploading the workout, several friends sent me notes encouraging me to swim more or acknowledging that they need to get back in the pool.  I am not a regular Facebook user, but I will probably be uploading my workout status more often now in order to keep face with my friends and coworkers who log a lot more yardage than I typically do.

I am well on my way to achieving my goal of 10 swims this month, especially with the extra motivation my Swimsense provides. Whether inspiring me with workout data or being able to challenge my Facebook friends, my Swimsense will certainly be a part of every workout from now on.

Enjoy the holiday season and don’t forget to make sense of your swim!

- John Mix

President, FINIS Inc.


Fran Crippen’s Passing

FINIS would like to share its condolences with the Crippen family and all of those who personally knew Fran. Our company had the opportunity to work with Fran recently  on a project evaluating and offering insights on a new product.  Poised beyond his years, a wonderful young man, Fran will be deeply missed and wonderfully remembered.

-John Mix


FINIS Products at Best Buy®

SwiMP3, XtreaMP3, Lap Track, Tempo Trainer, Energy Goggles and Circuit Trainer are at a Best Buy® store near you

Today I am proud to announce the immediate availability of select FINIS technical products at Best Buy stores nationwide. The products to be carried by Best Buy include our popular SwiMP3, a waterproof MP3 player that attaches to your swim goggles and uses bone conduction technology to provide clear music. Best Buy will also sell the XtreaMP3, a waterproof MP3 player for water sport enthusiasts, the Lap Track, a swimmers own personal pace clock, the Circuit Trainer, an audible workout timer that provides motivation and direction for circuit interval training, and the Tempo Trainer, a personal pace coach that attaches to your goggles and transmits an audible tempo beep while you swim, bike, or run. These select products are available now at and at Best Buy retail locations (click here to find a store near you).

I am proud to have Best Buy choose our technical swimming products for their store shelves. Now any fitness enthusiasts or serious athletes who partake in swimming as part of their exercise routine can easily access the quality technical equipment they need to maximize their workout. I applaud Best Buy for promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle, and I am honored to have our swim products as part of that assortment.

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder




New Product: Swimsense™

Makes Sense of your Swim

Today I am proud to unveil the new Swimsense™ Performance Monitor. This small intuitive device is worn around the wrist while swimming. Using motion sensing technology, the Swimsense (powered by SportSense™) automatically detects and records the number of laps swum, total distance, calories burned, lap time, pace, and stroke count. With built-in automatic stroke recognition, Swimsense is the first Performance Monitor in the world that can automatically differentiate between backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. Custom settings allow the user to configure Swimsense for unique pool sizes, and personalize calorie calculations by specifying gender, weight and age.

The Swimsense Performance Monitor is effortless for fitness enthusiasts and recreational swimmers to use, yet records the detailed training data that elite swimmers and triathletes demand.

Probably the best part of the Swimsense is being able to review the swim data on your computer. With a free online workout viewer, you can upload your workouts via a USB connection to review up to 14 past workouts/swims for easy progress monitoring. We will also offer a subscription Training Log so you can track goals, create workout plans, and store an unlimited number of past workouts for performance analysis. The Training Log is fully upgradable with automatic software updates for the Swimsense watch.

Swimsense will be available this 2010 holiday season for $199.99. For more information about the device or to receive updates about its release, please visit

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder


Back to Basics, Week 2

This is a follow up to my first post about Steve and how I’m helping him re-learn the fundamentals of swimming and technique.

During the second week of Steve’s training it was time to start mixing some things up. In order to survive a longer open-water swim, he needed to add some yardage to his workouts and help him find a comfortable, consistent pace. Keep in mind that just because we are adding yardage, doesn’t mean you can lose focus on technique!

Week 2:

    Warm up using the Z2 Fins and the front snorkel. Swim 500yards at a moderate speed thinking only about technique. 

    Leave the Fins on and flutter kick on your back 200yards, arms stretched out in a tight streamline. This typically feels great on the lower back.

    Remove Fins

    6 x 50’s Breaststroke; Take 10 seconds rest between each 50; #3 and #6 are all out, sprint breaststroke.

    Rest 2-3 minutes

    Main set: 10 x 100 Freestyle with a Tempo Trainer:


      • Comprised of 5 sets of 2 x 100’s (10 seconds rest between each 100 and 30 seconds rest at end of each set of 2) 

        Initially set the Tempo Trainer to 1.50 seconds. Time your rhythm so that you hear the beep as your hand enters the water at the top of your stroke. You will decrease the Tempo Trainer setting by 0.15 seconds after each set of 2.

        2 x100’s @ 1.50 seconds (Tempo Trainer setting)
        2 x100’s @ 1.35
        2 x100’s @ 1.20
        2 x100’s @ 1.05
        2 x100’s @ 0.90 (will be the fastest tempo)


    Rest 2 minutes and now set the Tempo Trainer at one of the rates above when you felt like your stroke was most natural. Swim 500yards straight on this new setting and take note if you are able to maintain this set rate for the entire swim. 

    200 warm down (50 breast, 50 back, 50 free, 50 breast)


The reason for the 500yard swim after the main set is to help you find your ideal stroke rate for distance and open-water swims. If you could not keep up with the rate that you set at the beginning of the 500, then later that week do the same workout and try again with a different setting. Conversely, if you easily held your stroke rate the entire 500, could we increase the pace and get you working a bit harder? Our goal will be to find a rate that is hard, but lets you get in the zone so that once you finish you have efficiently used up all the gas in the tank.

Remember to enjoy your swim!

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder


John’s Playlist

This morning I woke up feeling great and headed to the pool for a short swim to start the day. Like many other mornings, the music from my SwiMP3 player got the best of me and I had a great workout while listening to my music. I can’t recall how many totally yards I swam, and I can’t even remember a specific set. I just recall swimming a lot of freestyle, doing a few technique drills, and occasionally swimming hard and pushing myself.

The song I listen to often sets the pace for how I swim. In fact, this morning I almost got out after a good push to Ray LaMontagne’s “Three More Days,” but when each of the next two songs started playing, I couldn’t help but swim to them as well. I was in the pool for about an hour, and below are the songs that motivated me today:

    • Barefoot Natives –  “Back to Honopo”
    • Christina Aguilera –  “Soar”
    • Jason Mraz –  “I’m Yours”
    • Jonny Lang –  “Red Light”
    • Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  “Blue On Black”
    • Lyle Lovett –  “If I Had a Boat”
    • Metallica –  “Enter Sandman”
    • O.A.R. –  “Hey Girl”
    • Rascal Flatts –  “Bless the Broken Road”
    • Ray LaMontagne –  “Empty”
    • Ray LaMontagne –  “Three More Days”
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers –  “Under the Bridge”
    • Shawn Mullins “Somethin’ to Believe In”

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder


Back to the Basics, Week 1

Our goal for this FINIS Blog is to share information and feedback about swimming more openly. So I wanted to share an ongoing story I have about a friend re-learning the basics of swimming.

Steve is looking to do an open water swim this year after not swimming regularly since high school. So while on a ski lift at Squaw Valley this spring, Steve asked me for technique hints or suggestions so that he doesn’t embarrass himself in the water. I told him that the first thing to do is go back to the fundamentals. Over the next few weeks I found myself “coaching” Steve via email instruction as if he were just learning how to swim.

I started out by asking Steve to get in the water 3 days a week and repeat the workout below each day during his first week. Target yardage 1200. Steve suggested, come on, that’s too easy! My reply was that quality is far more important than quantity. During the second week we would increase to 1500 or 1600 yards, so I told him to enjoy the shorter workout while his body gets used to swimming again. Our end goal is to get Steve swimming 3 days a week about 3000 yards per workout.

Week 1:

    500 yards freestyle warm up. Concentrate on each lap, not just finishing the 500.  Think about catching the water at the top of the stroke; reach out front, catch the water and at that moment, rotate the opposite hip down and try to pull the body past the hand.

    5 x 50 yards breaststroke (10 second rest between each 50)

    6 x 75 yards free/kick/free with the snorkel. Make the middle 25 kicking only, hands at your sides, rotate to the left side and right side every six kicks, keeping your head straight, rolling your shoulder toward the bottom of the pool.  10 second rest between each 75.

    Get out, relax and come back after a day off.

Steve enjoyed his first week but he admitted having a tough time grasping the concept of rolling the opposite hip down and pulling the body past the hand. In future posts, I’ll expand more on my coaching growth with Steve but I do have to say that it has been fun for me to teach Steve through some of these fundamentals that I have learned over the years. And it is even more exciting to get his enthusiastic replies when a concept I had been explaining finally sticks. Perhaps it is not too late to re-learn some of the basics? Swim well and blog on.

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder


President’s Welcome

Welcome to the FINIS Blog. A new location to share some of the interesting swimming information we discuss every day. If you are reading this post, you probably are involved with the sport of swimming at some level, and so the first thing I want to ask you is what causes that passion inside you to go to the pool and swim? I’d have to say the answer is simply our love for swimming.

For me, I enjoy the feeling of those first few quiet warm up laps; the feeling I get when I rotate and stretch out my hand-entry in order to be 6 inches taller in the water; the Zen sensation of relaxing and focusing on technique; grooving with my SwiMP3 and not thinking about anything at all; climbing out from a good workout; talking to people about swimming and offering insights I have learned from other swimmers and coaches.

Blog? Obvious, and about time. We intend to share insights, beliefs, stories, videos, suggestions, and any other information that we run across with anyone who wants to listen or participate. Many products at FINIS have been developed because we exchange information, leading to new and better ideas. For example, the Alignment Kickboard was developed over a conversation in my office with Tim Elson about using a kickboard to create proper body position. We realized that traditional kickboards have a stacked, “uphill,” spine position, so we started cutting up kickboards with Exacto knives looking for a new solution. After a few hours of ideas and laughs, we had created a crude final design of the board. Our prototyping session was a success as many people are using the Alignment Kickboard in the pool today and providing great feedback.

The mission at FINIS is to be the world leader in swimming innovation and to help the world swim better. I just want to thank everyone who has helped make FINIS cialis what we are today, and those who will continue to help shape our future. Let me encourage you to leave comments, ideas, or stories of your own, so that we can build our swimming community. Swim well and blog on.

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder